Article  People in wealthier countries no longer feel that having children is fulfilling

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EXCERPTS: I have highlighted before the problems caused by declining birth rates in various parts of the world [...] Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida starkly announced in January to parliament: “Our country is on the brink of being unable to maintain the functions of society”. What Kishida means is that his country will plunge over an economic and social cliff unless Japan reverses its population decline.

World population now stands at 8 billion and increasing, but rate of increase is markedly slowing down. The current increase in world population is mainly driven by Africa where growth remains strong, although decreasing in rate.

In much of the remainder of the world birth rates are well below replacement rates. The median age of the world’s population today is 31 years, up from 24 in 1950. Median age will reach 42 years by 2100 when world population will peak at 10.4 billion and then decline.

A fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is necessary to maintain a steady population. Japan’s current fertility rate of 1.3 is about the same as China’s, and higher than Taiwan’s (1.0) and South Korea’s (0.8). It is only a little lower than traditionally Catholic countries Poland (1.39), Italy (1.47) and Ireland (1.6). Fertility rates average 1.67 across 37 OECD countries and world fertility rate is 2.43 (5.0 in 1950).

Japan’s population has been declining for years and it is now one of the fastest ageing countries on earth with over-65s accounting for almost 30 per cent of the population. In 1973, 2.09 million children were born, in 2022 less than 800,000. Empty classrooms are closing schools. If current trends continue Japan’s population will decline from 128 million in 2017 to 50 million in 2100.

[...] Many younger people in wealthier countries today no longer feel that having/rearing children is a fulfilling life project. ... One big problem with a below-replacement birth rate is that the ratio of younger workers relative to elderly non-working citizens rapidly declines making it very difficult to run the economy and fund social services... (MORE - missing details)

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